The Multifunctional Mesencephalic Locomotor Region

Author(s): Dimitri Ryczko, Rejean Dubuc

Journal Name: Current Pharmaceutical Design

Volume 19 , Issue 24 , 2013

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In 1966, Shik, Severin and Orlovskii discovered that electrical stimulation of a region at the junction between the midbrain and hindbrain elicited controlled walking and running in the cat. The region was named Mesencephalic Locomotor Region (MLR). Since then, this locomotor center was shown to control locomotion in various vertebrate species, including the lamprey, salamander, stingray, rat, guinea-pig, rabbit or monkey. In human subjects asked to imagine they are walking, there is an increased activity in brainstem nuclei corresponding to the MLR (i.e. pedunculopontine, cuneiform and subcuneiform nuclei). Clinicians are now stimulating (deep brain stimulation) structures considered to be part of the MLR to alleviate locomotor symptoms of patients with Parkinson’s disease. However, the anatomical constituents of the MLR still remain a matter of debate, especially relative to the pedunculopontine, cuneiform and subcuneiform nuclei. Furthermore, recent studies in lampreys have revealed that the MLR is more complex than a simple relay in a serial descending pathway activating the spinal locomotor circuits. It has multiple functions. Our goal is to review the current knowledge relative to the anatomical constituents of the MLR, and its physiological role, from lamprey to man. We will discuss these results in the context of the recent clinical studies involving stimulation of the MLR in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Keywords: Locomotion, mesencephalic locomotor region, pedunculopontine nucleus, cuneiform nucleus, laterodorsal tegmental nucleus, lamprey, acetylcholine, Parkinson’s disease.

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Article Details

Year: 2013
Published on: 02 June, 2013
Page: [4448 - 4470]
Pages: 23
DOI: 10.2174/1381612811319240011
Price: $65

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